On The Run

120710

  “I’m afraid I haven’t seen it, officer,” The lady says, peering through the ever-decreasing opening of her door as she goes to close it.

  “Ma’am,” the Polobot says, its voice deceptively human,  placing an immovable hand on her door before she shuts it completely, “if you do-”

  “I’ll be sure to report it,” the lady says, smiling a smile that becomes increasingly nervous as the officer’s hand remains in place. His lenses stare her out, unblinking, until finally – far from satisfied but as close as to satisfaction as the situation would allow – he returns the appendage to his side. The lady nods and wishes him a pleasant evening before closing the door.

  She doesn’t know why exactly had she lied to the officer. It wasn’t as if she was a hardened felon or a fugitive, she had no personal stake in the deception, but something had driven her to the act. Something unspoken and intangible. She waited by the door, breathless, until she was sure the streets outside were quiet once again let out a long heavy sigh of relief. She glanced at the robot who, up until now, had been hiding behind the front door, only inches away from his hunter during the entire interrogation.

  “That was close,” the woman said, giggling slightly though nothing was particularly humorous.

  “The proximity was indeed undesirable” he replied, gazing through her in much the same way his would-be-captor had done, with strange, orb-like eyes.

  “What’s your name, anyway?” she asked quietly, as if the potential answer demanded secrecy.

  “0100000101001100010001100101001001000101010100110100001101001111” The robot said impossibly quickly, the stream of binary regurgitating out of him as if it were an uncontrollable reflex. The lady was stunned into silence. “Sorry.” he added.

  “W-what does it mean?” she managed after an awed silence.

  “Alfresco,” he said simply.

  “Alfresco,” she repeated, smiling a little, “I’m Maria.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
After the second part of “Advanced Robotics” was published I said I wanted to explore more of Al’s backstory, particularly the birth of his relationship with Maria. Verdict? I’m liking it. I hope you are too.

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~ by Joseph Blame on December 7, 2010.

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